How to Welcome Disrupters Without Fear

It’s human nature to resist change. And when a change in our business or personal life spins us around 180 degrees, it’s hard to see it as a positive. Yet, when these types of changes happen – and they will – you can either welcome them or run as fast as you can back to your comfort zone.

There are always going to be disrupters to the way we do business. A disrupter is a person, company or event that changes the understood paradigm. It’s a sharp turn away from what we knew. It requires us to change what we do and how we do it from that point on. A disrupter can be seen in a negative way, but a disrupter can also propel us forward. It depends on what changes you are willing to make in response.


Tune in to the hidden opportunity

A major disrupter in professional services is the need to shift to a consultative guiding mentality while moving away from hourly billing. Newly automated processes have tightened up billable hours along with time needed for completing projects. This disruptor now dictates a need for service providers to focus on consultative offerings layered onto the compliance service. The bottom line is an element of increased value to clients of professional services.


I have previously shared the magic of women supporting women and the small groups that support this concept. The founding of the Friendship Factor is another example of a disrupting activity which changes the traditional narrative. A small group of us saw it didn’t benefit professional women to be in competition with one another. Instead, we formed the Friendship Factor with the idea: one woman’s success can and should help another woman’s success (thank you Gloria Vanderbilt!). That idea has turned out to be a very powerful one, as the group has helped its members with generous sharing of opportunities, resources and advice.


Resist disruption at your own risk

I’ve seen senior executives become fearful and uncooperative when younger workers come in with new, potentially disruptive ideas. They may worry that the young people are “taking over,” or that they’ll be pushed out of their jobs. Yet disruption by a new generation can be healthy. Instead of shutting out younger team members, a wise executive helps position them for success and works with them to get their fresh ideas heard. This is a winning reciprocal principle as both benefit from success of this thinking.


YOU can be the disrupter

I became a disrupter and a success model within PKF Texas when I was positioned to be their first non-CPA owner, and one of only a handful in the whole industry. I’d negotiated toward that position from the very first interview and the owners agreed to consider the idea from the beginning. Being a disrupter to the accepted order became a win-win for both my company and me, because they recognized that the change could set them apart in the industry. They are still seeing the value by hiring me as a consultant to the firm... they became my first client with my new company, Karen Love & Co. ...they also made a paradigm shift when the shareholders made me the offer. Congratulations to both of Us!!

Life lesson unpacked: A disrupter can propel us into positive change when we see it as an opportunity and not as a threat.